Sir Edward Pellew, Viscount Exmouth, was one of the most famous frigate captains of the Nelsonic era. This is his biography. Born into a Cornish seafaring family, Pellew first came to public attention during the American Revolutionary War. However, his career was effectively made by his capture of the French frigate Cleopatre in 1793 in the first successful single-ship engagement of the new French war. Pellew was showered with honours, including a knighthood and the command of a powerful new frigate, the famous Indefatigable. As part of - and eventually commander of - the Royal Navy's elite frigate squadron, Pellew became the scourge of French shipping in the Channel. The most famous incident from this phase of his life was the dramatic destruction of the powerful French line of battle ship Droits de l'Homme in 1797. Fiercely independent, Pellew resisted transfer to the main fleets and made a specialisation of detached missions. Thus he was involved in two abortive operations in support of French anti-government risings and a planned attack on the island of Belle Isle. Having made his reputation in European waters, he then made his fortune in the East, when given command of the vast East Indies station while still a very junior Admiral. He succeeded in due course to the highly prestigious command of the Mediterranean Fleet, although in the years after Trafalgar the situation was never likely to result in the fleet battle Pellew energetically sought. Ironically, he was to lead a fleet into action, but not until the war was over. In 1816 it was finally decided to end centuries of depredations on the part of the North African 'Barbary' states, and at great risk an Anglo-Dutch force under Pellew's command bombarded Algiers into submission. It was the crowning glory of an outstanding career.
Used availability for C Northcote Parkinson's Edward Pellew
April 2003 : UK Paperback